Smiling in Russia

Video Transcript

They look...I mean, they don't smile, they seem to be rude, but then it feels like there's more community culture in Russia than here [in the U.S.], I guess. Here, you know people and you feel like you see them every day and you say 'hi' but they're still'll never call them friends. Here, people say 'Hi, how are you?' which is... In Russia, they say 'hi' at most, like, 'Why are you asking how I am? Why do you care?' If people do inquire, it would mean that they care. Here, small talk is very common. Small talks, I...and again, maybe that's changing but that was really striking me here when I just came. I mean, you don't talk to strangers, you just mind your own business, you know, people usually...if they talk that's more, like, negative. I mean, again, smiling when I just came here...I mean, it's everybody's reaction, 'Why do you smile?' [laughing] You know? 'Why do you always have something to smile about?'

A Russian culture expert talks about some differences between how Russians and Americans interact with strangers.